Is the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine 95% Effective?

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A statement by the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Health Mutahi Kagwe claims that the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 was found to be 95% effective.

The statement was shared both on Twitter and Facebook.

Background

The statement that is dated November 11, 2020 responds to CS Kagwe’s remarks at a discussion about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. CS Mutahi Kagwe says in the statement that he was taken out of context.

A snippet of what the CS said during the discussion was published by NTV Kenya. CS Kagwe, in the video clip, is seemingly opposed to Kenya adopting the Pfizer vaccine, saying that he has “many doubts” and reservations about it because the vaccine is meant to stop people from contracting COVID-19 in a case where one cannot tell whether they were going to contract the virus in the first place.

CS Kagwe clarifies in his statement that he did not say that he has reservations about COVID-19 vaccines in general, but the Pfizer vaccine in particular, which according to his statement is allegedly 95% effective. He also declares that the government of Kenya will not commit taxpayers’ money to purchase the Pfizer vaccine.

“We will instead wait for globally and scientifically approved and acceptable vaccines. We are on the side of caution,” the statement indicates.

Verification

Contrary to CS Kagwe’s statement, a press release regarding the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine was issued on November 9 and does not include any information declaring that the vaccine is 95% effective.

The press statement, published on the Pfizer website reveals that the vaccine was found to have an efficacy rate of over 90%. The efficacy analysis of the vaccine was conducted on November 8.

There are also no media reports stating that the vaccine’s efficacy rate is 95%. Most of the media reports have used the 90% efficacy rate in their coverage of the Pfizer vaccine.

Verdict

A statement by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Health Mutahi Kagwe claiming that the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 was found to be 95% effective is FALSE.

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Linda Ngari